The true nature of Portrait Photography
Portrait Photography
Pixean
April 20, 2018

Portrait photography is a photograph of a person or group of people. A good portrait is not just an image of a person’s face; a good portrait captures the essence of the person and portrays well the identity of that person.

In today’s world optics seem to have a huge significance. Portrait photographers are hired to cover events such as weddings, religious ceremonies and the like. Organizations hire portrait photographers for commercial projects to capture images of the people of the organization. These images may be used by the organizations to maintain their online presence (website and social media). They may also be used for offline marketing in publications and such.

In traditional portrait photography, the face of the person is the main focus. Most of these shots are captured with the person looking at the camera. This is the style used in photographing students for a yearbook. 

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In environmental portrait photography, the surroundings are just as important as the person being photographed. This kind of photography is used to convey a carefully crafted story; for example, an image of a musician in a studio, a baker in a bakery, a doctor in a hospital and the like.

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Glamour portraits aim at increasing the appeal of the main subject. Usually the main subjects for glamour portraits are professional models and celebrities. These portraits are generally produced with the intention of marketing some object through the person.

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Abstract portraits are treated as a form of art. In abstract portraiture digital manipulation is used to create a surreal effect leaving the message of image open to the viewer’s interpretation

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There are portraits like family portraits or wedding portraits that include more than one person. These portraits focus on capturing the essence of the relationship of the people in the image. Some of these portraits also focus on documenting their lifestyle.

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There are quite a few things you need to consider before capturing a portrait. The first thing to decide is just how much of the main person(s) you want to capture. For a more creative look you can take a close up image where only a part of the face is captured. If you want to concentrate on the facial features you can capture a portrait which covers just the face and the shoulders. If you want a little bit of the background to be included you can cover the entire upper body. In portraits such as environmental portraits where the background is also important you can capture full body portraits.

Another important aspect of portrait photography is the angle. As in traditional portraiture, you can hold the camera facing the subject at the eye level. You can also hold the camera looking down on the subject. This is especially useful when the background is too noisy.

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Another way to capture a portrait is from a below-the-eye angle looking up at the subjects face. This makes the subject appear taller and more powerful.

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The angle your subject’s face makes with your camera also affects the image. The most commonly used angle is when the person is looking directly at the camera. But looking straight into the camera is not the only option available. You can also try capturing the subject’s face at various angles to the camera until the subject’s face is perpendicular to the camera and see which angle you like best. 

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Shadow plays an important role in portrait photography. At different angles you will often be faced with a challenging situation where the sun in lights up one side of the main subject’s face while leaving the other in shadows. You can use a flash to light up to make up for the lack of light on that side.

The success of a portrait depends not only on the gear used but also on how you decide to tell the person’s story. So experiment and try out different techniques using these tips as guidelines.

Portrait Photography
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